How Mobile Friendly is Your Website

In late 2010, the New York Times published an article titled 2010 the year of the Tablet, or iPad. In 2010, Apple sold 14 million iPad units. In the 4th quarter of 2010 they sold more iPads than they did Macbooks, and 2010 had Apple’s highest Macbook sales ever. With the iPhone coming to Verizon in early 2011, that’s even more mobile devices ready to hit the streets. And it isn’t just iPhone Blackberry sales that are strong–Android is serious mobile contender, and Windows is at least trying to gain a foothold. As a publisher, it’s time to ask yourself  … How Mobile Friendly is Your Website?

While it’s obvious that mobile is growing, a lot of website owners think it’s something they don’t have to deal with now, especially if they run an eCommerce website. I can tell you that I did the majority of my shopping on my mobile devices this year and, looking at this tweet from Brent D Payne, I wasn’t the only one …

Brent D Payne Christmas Shopping on his iPhone

Recently Matt Cutts of Google posted a video on Mobile SEO.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY9h3G8Lv4k[/youtube]

The one issue I’m going to disagree with Matt on is implementation. Using an m.example.com implementation is an incredibly bad idea. It creates an extra maintenance point, flirts with usability issues, and introduces the possibility of crawling and link equity problems (see The Dangers of Having Multiple Website Versions). Instead, I suggest detecting based on user agent and serving content/styling appropriately.

If you have the programming resources and expertise, developing native apps is one way to go. Apps will always be more elegant and sophisticated than mobile websites. If you’re looking for some suggestion about how an app should run, take a look at the Amazon shopping app and Apple shopping app, both of which I have used and are excellent. That said, you will still need a mobile website version to cover devices without app capabilities.

IMHO if you don’t have a mobile version of your website in 2011, you will be missing out on a growing market of customers. The number of people with mobile browsers is only going to increase and, without a mobile website, you run the risk of alienating those users and customers … or allowing your competition to serve them better. It’s something to think about.

photo credit: Hello Turkey Toe

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